Sunday, September 9, 2007

Hawaii Superferry

One of the things I longed to do when I lived in Honolulu (1996-2000) was to travel to the other islands in the Hawaiian chain by boat. Unfortunately, the only way to get from one island to the other, in spite of there close proxsimity, was by air, a flight that took less than 30min. and cost at least $50. The whole thing seemed so rediculous and only added to my catrophbic feelings. Now, that's changed.

A new ferry service between Honolulu and three of the nearby islands has been started this month after legal problems threatened to beach the giant catamaran-styled ferry like one of the whales that environmentalists fear it will run over. More than 500 passengers and crew, and 150 cars, were aboard when the four-deck, blue-and-white vessel emblazoned with manta rays pulled away from the dock to a chorus of cheers as the Hawaii Superferry made its maiden run on Sunday Aug. 26 with a rushed launch for a three-hour voyage to Maui — becoming the first passenger ferry service between the islands.

Inside the 349-foot Alakai built by Austal USA in Mobile, Ala., passengers browsed the gift shop, played cards and ordered breakfast while watching live NFL Sunday football games on high-definition TV screens as the ferry sailed past Aloha Tower. Superferry sold out its first voyage in 30 minutes Saturday, offering $5 one-way fares for passengers and the same for cars. More than 400 of those aboard got right back on the Alakai for the voyage back to Honolulu.

The launch, originally set for Tuesday with fares 10 times that much, was moved up after the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that the state should have required an environmental review before the Superferry started service. Three environmental groups have sued, concerned that the vessel could collide with humpback whales, spread invasive species and create long traffic delays. A dozen protesters greeted the hundreds of enthusiastic passengers after the ferry docked at Maui's port.

The environmentalists' attorney, Isaac Hall, said he will seek an injunction Monday to prevent the Superferry from doing business until environmental studies are completed. Environmental reviews are typically required of projects that use state money and land, such as harbors, and they can take months or even years to complete. But we can be sure nothing will come of it. The shiny new port terminal for the ferry and the new dock says it all. And if that's not proof enough, the highly competitive local airlines are already gearing-up for a fare war. Find out more about the ferry at:

Research info gathered at:

Now here's a poem to ferry your mind:

Whispers, Waving To An April Dawn

It all begins with a scream of wind through the wet hair of
willows & then continues to:

-One dusty pickup on a highway partial of suspense novels.

-A pristine Blue Grotto slightly gold framed & naked in the rain.

-All of Costa Rica playing a caprice on a red violin.

-A feral garden that eats out of a complete stranger's hand.

-Bales of freshly-mowed hay with legs that scissor the air.

-A slice of burnt toast with a scab already forming.

-Voices used for the audio portion of a soccer match.

-Two streetlights watching re-runs of an episode on lunar ellipses.

-A hillside terrace that slopes into a cross-dresser's closet.

-The blazing gaze and stonewall demeanor of a field of sunflowers.

-Life darkened at the edges so the heart appears more luminous.

This poem first published online at:
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